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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Lavrov on Rice

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov brushed off U.S. doubts over the country's commitment to democracy Wednesday, saying "ill-intended" criticism would not sway President Vladimir Putin's political course.

Lavrov said he expected Washington's policy of cooperation with Moscow to remain unchanged, despite U.S. Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice comments Tuesday that Russia's path to democracy was "not yet assured."

"Those, who understand that the world needs a stronger Russia … view our reforms positively and we consider this right," Lavrov said. "Those who think a strong Russia is not in their interests view them differently, but that is their problem."

Finnish Sex Probe

HELSINKI (Reuters) -- Finnish police said Wednesday they wanted to question two Russian diplomats in connection with a prostitution ring that operated out of property owned by Moscow's trade representation in Helsinki.

Finland has made a formal request to its giant neighbor for official help in ensuring the diplomats be brought before investigators despite their diplomatic immunity, police added.

The head of Russia's trade representation, Valery Schlyamin, denied late last year, when news of the ring surfaced in Finnish media, that staff were in any way involved.

Schlyamin said at that time that apartments used by prostitutes belonged to the representation.

New Stalin Monument

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Moscow plans to erect a new statue of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, returning his once-ubiquitous image to its streets after an absence of four decades, a top city official said Wednesday.

Since President Vladimir Putin was elected in 2000, a number of Soviet symbols have been restored to use, reflecting widespread nostalgia for Russia's communist years. But rehabilitation of Stalin, who was denounced after his death in 1953 by the Soviet leadership for encouraging a cult of personality and killing millions of opponents, has previously been out of bounds. Statues of Stalin were removed from Moscow's public spaces in the 1960s.

'Red October' Sub

MOSCOW (AP) -- The hunt for Red October can be called off: Russia will scrap the submarine that some say inspired the famous Cold War novel and film, Izvestia reported Wednesday.

In a twist of fate, a massive, menacing submarine similar to the Soviet vessel that Sean Connery commanded in the U.S. blockbuster will be scrapped using U.S. funds from the Nunn-Lugar Threat Reduction program.

At 172 meters, the submarine -- a Typhoon-class craft that Izvestia identified only by the serial number 712 -- was one of the biggest nuclear missile-carrying submarines in existence when Tom Clancy published "The Hunt for Red October" in 1984.